Once you go beyond their iconic sprawling white stairs, you'll find yourself in a world of knowledge like no other.
Mumbai has a bandwagon of locales which are teeming with folds of affluent history and The Asiatic Society Of Mumbai is one such place, which fits this bill. Undoubtedly one of the most picturesque spots in the city, this venue is actually a repository of hard-to-find documents, books, periodicals, literature, maps, manuscripts and more! Once you go beyond their iconic sprawling white stairs, you'll find yourself in a world of knowledge like no other.
The Asiatic Society of Mumbai was founded by Sir James Mackintosh, a prominent lawyer of his time, a jurist and a distinguished public figure in England who became the 'recorder' or the 'King's Judge' for 'Bombay'. Known as the Literary Society of Bombay back then, this community met for the first time on the 26th of November, 1804. The library was formed with the intention of 'promoting useful knowledge' and since then, it has been doing just that and more!
Amidst all the rarity the library boasts of, the original Italian manuscript of Dante's Divine Comedy is one of the gems here while a 16th century Sanskrit manuscript, Aranyaka Parvan of the Mahabharata, is the other one. The latter is termed as 'crucial discovery' for the study of pre-Mughal miniature paintings! Vintage manuscripts in Persian, Prakrit, Urdu and Sanskrit, a set of 1,000 ancient coins and the much-talked about gold 'mohur' that once belonged to Akbar, are among the many priceless treasures that can be found here.
They've also launched a digital library initiative called 'Granth Sanjeevani' where you can find over 10,000 books on literature, botany, theology and so on with scripts too, dating back to the 13th century!
Bibliophile or not, everyone in Mumbai should at least visit this library once, if not more! The premises and the vibes here will transport you to the yesteryears and spending hours here on a lazy day, is the perfect way to rewind and relax. So if you're in and around, make up a day's plan and head to this library to gain insights like never before.
Location: Town Hall, Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg, Fort, Mumbai
Timings: 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM, all days except on Sundays